Steelers QB Kenny Pickett replaces Mitchell Trubisky in loss to Jets

The Kenny Pickett era seems to have begun.

Pittsburgh's rookie quarterback entered the game for Mitchell Trubisky on the first offensive possession of the second half in their 24-20 loss to the New York Jets.

Trubisky's benching came after a listless first half from a Steelers offense that mustered just eight first downs in seven possessions, and failed to reach the red zone. After two quarters of play, the Trubisky-led offense gained just 147 yards of total offense and six points, three of which were aided by a Jets' penalty that led to a 59-yard Chris Boswell field goal in the final seconds of the second quarter.

Trubisky completed 7 of 13 passes for 84 yards and one interception at the time of his benching.

On five possessions, Pickett completed 10 of 13 attempts for 120 yards. The rookie tallied two rushing touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions.

"I thought we needed a spark, man," Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters after the game. "We didn't do much in the first half, not enough offensively, and I thought he could provide a spark for us."

Trubisky told reporters that he was disappointed with how Sunday played out.

"Didn't score enough points, got pulled at halftime. That's how it goes," Trubisky said. "That's business as usual. Just gotta find a way to pull together as a team and get better from here. So, disappointed, obviously. But that's part of it."

Tomlin added that Sunday's decision did not mean Pittsburgh was making a permanent change at QB.

"We'll deal with next week next week," Tomlin said.

Pickett's first NFL possession didn't go swimmingly, but the rookie QB was quickly given the ball in a crucial situation.

Faced with a fourth-and-1 at their own 31-yard line, Pickett's number was called with a successful QB sneak. Two plays later, Pickett looked for Chase Claypool downfield, but it was Jets safety Jordan Whitehead that came down with an interception.

The Steelers quickly got the ball back after Minkah Fitzpatrick caught a tipped pass for an INT, and Pickett's number was called once again at the goal line, scoring the team's first touchdown of the day on a QB sneak.

Pickett's first career TD gave the Steelers a 13-10 lead over the Jets.

The rookie QB's second pick, with Pittsburgh up three points and in Jets territory with 3:42 left in the game, gave New York the ball back with enough time to tie or win the game. The Jets ended up scoring the game-winning touchdown with 18 seconds left.

"You can't throw an interception there at that point in the game," Pickett said of the crucial turnover. "Obviously, we were moving the ball well. You want to be aggressive, but at the same time, the clock was our friend there and we wanted to possess the ball. I can't make that mistake.

"It's something I need to learn from quickly and get it fixed for whenever my next opportunity comes," he said. Tomlin said Pickett brought "some energy" to the offense. "We scored some touchdowns. But, obviously, we also turned the ball over."

Pickett and the Steelers got the ball back and made it to the Jets' 48, thanks to a 27-yard completion to Pickens. But Pickett's Hail Mary on the final play of the game was picked off in the back of the end zone, and Pittsburgh fell to 1-3.

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